In one of the last weeks before he leaves office, a tenure marked by controversy during the last three years, Israeli Prime Ehud Olmert this week toured the Western Wall and the adjacent excavations in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Areas that also have been the center of controversy.
In Israel, Independence Day is a cause for giving thanks:
singing “ Hatikvah”; hanging the flag from apartment banisters and on automobile aerials. For bopping friends over the head with small toy hammers.
Following Yom HaZikaron, Israelis celebrated Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Independence Day, as usual in a spirit of joy over the country’s accomplishments in its first 59 years with a twinge of apprehension over what future years will bring.
New York City’s mayor combined the personal and the political during his latest visit to Israel.
During two days there last week, he took part in the dedication of a refurbished emergency rescue service center in Jerusalem, and spent a morning in a Negev city that has been the target of repeated rocket attacks from Gaza.
The conviction of Haim Ramon, former Israeli justice minister, on an indecency charge this week, may lead to a shakeup of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government and a re-examination of the country’s sexual harassment laws, Israeli politicians said.
Ramon, 56, a close ally of Olmert, was found guilty Wednesday by Tel Aviv’s Magistrate Court for forcibly kissing a 21-year-old soldier at a party six months ago. He faces three years in jail, and is expected to appeal the verdict.
Jerusalem — A visitor handed Teddy Kollek a book to autograph several years ago. Kollek, sitting behind his desk in the office of The Jerusalem Foundation, where he worked as international chairman after losing a race for re-election as the city’s mayor in 1993, looked at the cover — the book, distributed by the foundation, was a collection of writings and photographs from his career.
“Where did you get this?” Kollek asked.An assistant said she had given it to the visitor.
Forty years ago this week — on the Hebrew calendar — Jerusalem was nervous.
The fighting that came to be known as the Six-Day War was still underway, and the extent of Israel’s lightning victory on three fronts was not yet fully known.
Then Mordechai Gur uttered the words that still ring through the decades, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” and with the capture of the holiest spot in the Old City, the celebrating began.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s trip throughout the Middle East last week found him in Israel on Easter — he joined thousands of pilgrims at a service in Jerusalem — but his visit there was no holiday.
During his three days in Israel, Cheney met with Israeli and Palestinian officials, voiced the Bush administration’s continued support for the Jewish state, urged all sides in the Middle East peace process to make further concessions and criticized two belligerent governments in the region.
Binyamina, a town near Haifa, and its most famous native son, have both grown over the last six decades.
Binyamina’s most famous native son is now Israel’s prime minister.
Ehud Olmert returned to his childhood elementary school this week and gave a third-grade class a surprise 40-minute lesson on civics on Tu b’Shevat and the Knesset’s 59th anniversary.